In a new memoir, Monica Coleman reflects on the legacies of slavery, poverty, war, and alcoholism, and how these conditions can mask a history of mental illness. At once spiritual autobiography and memoir of madness, Bipolar Faith is the book Dr. Coleman was hoping to find when she was diagnosed with bipolar II, which is characterized by periods of deep depressions balanced by periods of productivity and energy. Moreover, she found precious few memoirs that engage religion and faith in truly constructive ways.
While the taboo around depression in the African-American faith community is diminishing, "I think there are people suffering from depression and bipolar disease who are also striving to maintain their faith. There are few guides or safe places where they can discuss their feelings," says Coleman. This book is for them and for their allies.
Monica A. Coleman, MDiv, Ph.D., teaches theology and African-American religions at Claremont School of Theology (CST), in Claremont, CA. At CST, she was recently promoted to the position of full professor -- making her the first African-American woman full professor at CST. Dr. Coleman is an ordained elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and a sought-after speaker and preacher.
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Recorded On: Thursday, November 3, 2016